New hospital CEO comes with 25 years' experience

Clarendon Health System's new CEO administrator has more than two decades of experience working with the healthcare industry. Debra Locklair was named Tuesday by the Clarendon Health System Board of Trustees for the new position. Interim CEO Paul Schumacher, who took former CEO Richard Stokes' place in December 2015, will revert to his position as chief operating officer, according to board Chairman Jim Darby. Darby said Tuesday that the board had accepted a management agreement with McLeod Health, which will allow the larger healthcare entity based in Florence to pursue its "due diligence research" on the smaller system, which reported a $4 million loss in the last fiscal year. "During the next six weeks to 60 days, this new management agreement will spell out the details of the affiliation," Darby said Wednesday morning in a follow-up conversation. "While our board will take a step back in the day-to-day management of the hospital facilities (beginning Wednesday), our board will continue to meet." He said part of the process of McLeod's "due diligence" will be deciding the makeup of a board governing the hospital in the future. "Key members of McLeod executive team and staff will meet with our board going forward," Darby said. "We are going to take a somewhat subordinate position within the context of this management agreement." The agreement brings the larger entity's resources to the local hospital and community, including "nationally recognized clinical quality and patient safety programs, as well as cost-savings through consolidation of some administrative services and purchasing," McLeod Health and President CEO Rob Colones said. "The agreement is consistent with our non-profit mission," Colones said. "The changing healthcare landscape continues to amke it very difficult for hospitals in rural areas to operate independently. We believe that this affiliation allows McLeod Health and Clarendon to continue serving in the best way possible the health needs of families in their communities." Darby said Locklair started with the hospital system Wednesday. She is currently a senior vice-president and regional administrator for McLeod Health. He role, Darby said, will be as an interim administrator throughout the transition period. She previously served as interim administrator for McLeod Health Cheraw and McLeod Health Dillon. Darby said that once an affiliation is complete, a branding change is likely. "In Cheraw, Loris and Dillon they have similar partnerships, where it's McLeod Health Dillon and the like," he said. "I"m sure there would be something similar here." In McLeod's release on the decision, Colones called the local hospital system "McLeod Health Clarendon." Still, Darby said the affiliation is not a sale. He said the hospital is chartered by legislation as a special purpose district - specifically Clarendon Health District - and that is is "responsible for providing quality healthcare services to the residents of Clarendon County." "Seeking this affiliation with McLeod is a part of our continued mission in meeting that charter," he said.


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